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Dwight Janko Saves the Human Race

by Charles C. Cole

Three seven-foot tall aliens stood in Dwight Janko’s rural front yard, huddled close together, somewhat sheltered behind his tractor. Two held what looked like round four-foot shields — weapons or scanning devices — in front of them, while the remaining one waved a white flag.

“That’s close enough,” called Janko, a self-proclaimed survivalist, peeking out his kitchen window. “No offense, but after what I’ve seen on the news the last few months, your word don’t hold water, if you get me. So don’t give me any of that ‘I come in peace, crap.’ Okay?”

A human male stepped forward around the trio. By comparison, he was short and pale and sweaty. His dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail and he wore a black jumpsuit with a series of blinking lights on the collar. The getup was reminiscent of a prison uniform. He also wore a leash around his neck that connected back to the alien with the flag. He reminded Janko of a reluctant pet being taken for a stroll.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Janko,” he said. “We need your help.”

“How do you know my name?”

“It was on the mailbox at the end of your drive.”

“I didn’t know humans hung out with that kind,” said Janko. “You got some sort of deal with the devil, I guess, for helping them out. Maybe you think they’ll leave your skin alone when they’ve taken everyone else’s.”

“We think we’ve come up with an arrangement that could save thousands of lives one day, but we need your help.”

“We got a name, collaborator?”

“Culver Lantos, of Chicago.”

“I hope you’re doing this against your will, friend. Speak your piece, Mr. Lantos, but I reserve the right to shoot you dead at any point, especially if you bore me or piss me off. I’m sure your associates would be happy to take you home in doggie bags.”

“During the early days of the invasion, some bad decisions were made on both sides,” Lantos began.

“You mean the part where we trusted your friends and they scooped us up like so many human gumdrops?”

“They had been in space for an unimaginably long time and were... malnourished. The intensity of their hunger astonished even them. And then, once they tried us, we were viewed as a bit of a delicacy.”

“I don’t need to hear this, not from you. I lost people, you know. I don’t need to feel compassion for the enemy.” Janko aimed his Laser Pistol 404, prepared to kill his first human.

“I don’t know what you’ve heard, but the Harvesters sterilized all human life through some pervasive aerosol weaponry in the lower atmosphere. It was an early containment strategy. They didn’t know how long we take to gestate. To be honest, I believe they had visions of us breeding like rabbits, as a means of defense to replace the humans lost in battle and agriculture.”

“What’s all this got to do with me?”

“Apparently, they missed a few of us.”

“Us? Being a little generous aren’t you, Judas?”

“You have an underground bunker.”

“I wouldn’t know about that,” said Janko.

“We saw your Internet post. ‘Heads down everyone. The only way to beat these suckers is to dive below their radar: underground. Then come up when their bellies are full and their guard is down.’ That was you.”

“I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with you. Get to the point, Igor. Or should I call you Spot?”

“The gaseous weapon has a short, though powerful shelf-life. You and a few others can still procreate.”

“I’ll start right on that. Oh wait, I haven’t seen a woman in weeks. Tell your friends that their plan for world domination is still better than my one-man revolution. I’ve got no plans for an army of little Jankos at this time.”

“To be blunt, they want your help with repopulating the planet. You have a certain ability that’s in high demand these dark days.”

“You make me sound like a superhero.”

“They found eligible females who were also underground. You’d be helping our side as much as theirs.”

“By making babies? Sounds like another delicacy to me. No, thanks.”

“You don’t understand. They’re leaving. They got what they came for. To be honest, they can’t fit any more in their cargo holds. They won’t be back for a millennium, maybe two. Their philosophy is to give us time to restock the planet before returning. But in their initial enthusiasm, they overharvested. It was an accident they don’t plan on repeating.”

“And they want my services?”

“As I said, they don’t understand our reproductive processes, but they’ve gotten commitments from some human laboratories who’ve been very successful at this sort of thing, with in vitro fertilization. You’d be part of the team.”

“It’s a lovely offer. Thank them for thinking of me. But I’m staying right where I am until I hear that their kind have evacuated the earth for better prospects.”

“That’s the plan.”

“Come back after they’re gone, and I’ll do what I can,” said Janko. “You know where I live.”

“I’ll send someone along.”

“It won’t be you?”

“They have plans for me.”

“Good for you. I’m sure you’ve earned it.”

“You misunderstand; I’ll be on display in a zoo on their home world. They thought, since we’re new to their planet, I could create an interest in the unique food source.”

“If I were you, I’d make friends with their children. Get them to like you and appreciate you. Make them laugh, if they know how. Be endearing. Then maybe one day, we’ll be a protected planet.”

“I appreciate your not shooting me.”

“What would happen if I zapped one of them between the eyes right now?”

“You wouldn’t make a dent in their plans, and nobody would ever hear about your heroic gesture. I’ll leave a list of names and hometowns, not nearly complete, of people who are joining me. Remember us.”

“Will do. Sorry. Good luck, Mr. Lantos.”

Copyright © 2015 by Charles C. Cole

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